Pope John Paul II - KayakerTuesday, 21 December 2010
Here your fun fact for the day: Did you know that the former Pope John Paul II was an avid kayaker? Indeed he was.
He got into kayaking sometime after 1949 when he was working at Saint Florian’s parish in Kraków, Poland. There he worked with a group of people who ministered to the sick and blind and during that time he went on regular kayaking trips each summer for vacation.
In fact, he loved kayaking so much that he bought his own double Klepper (I believe it’s a Klepper) so others could join him for conversation and spiritual direction throughout the trips.
He also thought he was a pretty good paddler as according to his biography on Wikipedia he took part in an international competition through a gorge on the Dunajec River in 1955. Of course things didn’t go so well in the race as his boat got a hole in it and promptly sunk just before the finish line.
For those who are interested in seeing what his kayak looks like today you will need to travel to the northern Mexican city of Monterrey where his boat is on display as part of a large exhibition of the late Popes personal affects. Just remember you don’t have much time as the exhibition will be closing at the end of March, 2011.
I was able to find a couple photos of the younger Pontiff on a kayak trip.
David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.